Murder victim's mom pushes for gun violence awareness

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Sylvia Blake is determined to do more.

On December 27, 2012, just two days after Christmas, her son Bradley, was found dead from a gunshot wound inside a car on Willowood Lane in Pineville.

Deputies arrested and charged two men in connection with the murder, and both are awaiting trial.

Eight months after his death, friends and family founded the the Bradley Blake Foundation, a non-profit committed to community service and outreach.

Among their efforts, volunteers have hosted community clean-up drives, a free baseball camp, also making gift donations to MUSC Children's Hospital.

"I feel like he's smiling to know what we're doing and how we're taking something so tragic and trying to make something positive out of it," she said.

In 2014, Blake contacted State Representative Joseph Jefferson via email, looking to establish a gun violence awareness bill.  She said it was through research, along with her daughter, she discovered New York as the only state with a similar bill promoting awareness.

Jefferson said the measure made its way through the State House and Senate quickly, before it was adopted as a resolution April 1.

The resolution declares June 2015 Gun Violence Awareness Month, a first in South Carolina.

"If we can only save one, it will make a huge difference to me," Sylvia Blake said.

According to the National Institute of Justice, 467, 321 people were victims of a crime committed with a firearm in 2011.

For now, Blake has turned to social media to spread the message of gun violence awareness in the first year of the resolution.  In January, Rep. Jefferson will present the measure before state lawmakers, in hopes of signing it into law.

"We're only asking that you take some time this month and speak with your family, your friends, grandchildren, nieces, nephews."

Just speak with them.  Just talk to them a little about gun violence."

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